The Indian markets have started today's session on a positive note. The benchmark indices opened above the breakeven mark and have managed to hold on to their gains since then. Other key Asian markets are trading in the green with Taiwan (up 0.4%) leading the pack of gainers. The US markets closed higher by 0.2% yesterday.
Currently in India, heavyweights from the BSE-Sensex are trading strong with energy and software stocks attracting investors' interest. However, select banking stocks are in the red. The BSE-Sensex is trading higher by around 20 points, while the NSE-Nifty is up by about 4 points. Buying interest is also being witnessed among mid and small cap stocks as the BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices are trading higher by 0.3% and 0.5% respectively. The rupee is trading at 45.6 to the US dollar.
Energy stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include BPCL and Reliance. As per a leading business daily, the Supreme Court has allowed the Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) to process pending applications for city gas distribution projects. It may be noted that the Delhi High Court had recently restricted PNGRB's powers to authorise city gas projects. It had also rendered the previous authorisations by PNGRB invalid. Last year, the board had issued city gas licences for six cities and had invited bids for seven cities. Indraprastha Gas had challenged these moves in the Delhi High Court. In our view, the procedural issues regarding PNGRB's authority should be resolved quickly. City gas is a cleaner alternative to petrol and diesel and it is highly desirable that it reaches as many Indian cities as possible.
Engineering stocks have opened the day on a positive note. Gainers here include Thermax and L&T. As per a leading business daily, BHEL has bagged a Rs 33 bn contract to set up 376 MW captive power plant at Indian Oil's upcoming refinery at Paradip, Orissa. The project involves design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of the captive power plant along with the civil work. The equipment for the project will be supplied by BHEL's plants in Hyderabad, Trichy, Ranipet, Bhopal, Jhansi and the electronics division, Bangalore. This development further adds to the revenue visibility of BHEL, which had an order backlog of Rs 1,340 bn at the end of December 2009. That amounts to about 4.8 times its FY09 annual sales.